I was thinking last night about the creation of child stars. Nick and Disney have both had their fair share of successes. What makes these networks so successful?
Disney has put out big stars, beginning with Christina Aguilera, JC Chasez, Britney Spears, Ryan Gossling, Keri Russel, and Justin Timberlake and continuing with current stars Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Lovato, Christy Carlson Romano, the Mowry Siblings (Tia, Tamera, and Tahj), Shai Lebouf, etc.
Nick has also had a list of successes, including Larissa Oleynick, Nick Cannon, Miranda Cosgrove, Amanda Bynes, Jamie Lynn Spears, Drake Bell, and Josh Peck.
The two networks have a somewhat different style of marketing and promotion. Disney looks for triple threats: singer, dancer, and actor. Nick goes a different angle: largely comedic. One thing Nick does particularly well is pull cast members from one show to the next (Amanda Show had Drake and Josh as guest stars–> Drake and Josh show had Miranda Cosgrove as guest star–> iCarly). Disney on the other hand, has only just begun to use spinoffs (That’s So Raven–>Cory in the House, Suite Life of Zack and Cody–>Suite Life on Deck). Instead, it focuses on building its kids musical careers at the same time as the shows to give them more exposure.
Having watched some shows from each network, I think part of the success has to do with quality. The actors on Disney do a better job in their exaggerated roles than the Nick kids do. It’s just a little smoother, a little funnier.
It’s undeniable that Disney has had a larger success rate of creating big name celebrities, but they’ve also had higher rate of something else as well: celebrities going off the deep end. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Lindsay Lohan have each had their turns with out of control behavior and acting out. There was also the nude picture scandal with Vanessa Hudgens and the handful of photo scandals with Miley Cyrus. So while Nick may have managed some bigger stars, perhaps they’ve had more successes. When was the last time we saw a Nick kid gone wild?